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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

220               POST-WAR FINANCE

been broken, can be done again so easily. From the
Socialist point of view the Levy on Capital is, of
course, a simple means of getting, by repetitions of
it at regular intervals, all the means of production
into the hands of the State; but would the State
make a good use of them ?

Another assumption about the Levy on Capital
that seems to me to be the merest will o' the wisp is
the delusion that the whole saving that it would
entail by reducing the debt charge would necessarily
and certainly go to the relief of income tax.   On this
assumption   Mr Pethick Lawrence bases his most
persuasive appeal to the smaller income-tax payer, by
showing that he would be better off after a Levy on
Capital than before it, thanks to the reduction in
income tax,  which is  assumed  as  axiomatically
arising in its train.   But is this certain or even
likely ?    Is it not much more probable that our
Government, finding its post-war Budget greatly
lightened by a Levy on Capital or a Compulsory Loan
to redeem debt, will think itself free to indulge in
extravagance, maintaining a considerable part of the
war income tax and wasting it on rash experiments ?
All these weaknesses, which appear to be inherent
alike in the Levy on Capital or in the scheme which
gilds the pill by calling it a Compulsory Loan, seem
to be ignored or neglected (perhaps because they are
unanswerable) by their advocates.   On the other
hand, there are certain psychological arguments on
the other side.   If the well-to-do, who would have
to pay the Levy or subscribe to the Compulsory
Loan, would prefer that system to a high income tax,